Musician trumpets employer’s support

When Royal Australian Navy Band member Petty Officer Nigel Barrett’s civilian employer learnt he had nominated them for an award for supporting his Reserve service, it was music to their ears.

CAPTION: Petty Officer Nigel Barrett, left, with Western Australian Association for Mental Health CEO Taryn Harvey and Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling Captain Gary Lawton at the presentation of an Employer Support Award to the association in Perth. Story byFlight Lieutenant Nick O’Connor.

But the high note came when that workplace, the Western Australian Association for Mental Health, won the not-for-profit category of the state’s Reserve Employer Support Awards.

The annual awards, presented in all states and territories, provide an opportunity for Defence to recognise employers formally for workplace practices that enable reservists to complete their ADF service commitments.

Petty Officer Barrett, who is the Western Australian Association for Mental Health’s corporate services manager, said his employer had provided unwavering support of his Naval Reserve service.

“Since being employed in April 2018, the association consistently supported my Defence career, releasing me for service and training obligations within weeks of starting,” Petty Officer Barrett said.

“This support has continued, even with the association’s increased workload, regularly allowing me to meet my service commitments with flexible working arrangements.

“The association acknowledges that my Defence training adds to the value I bring to my civilian employment, from leadership, to ongoing mandatory compliance training.

“I was also able to use my Defence COVID-19 training, risk management processes and regular communication to support the association in its COVID-19 response to staff, and in mitigating risk, so they could continue providing services.”

Head of Joint Support Services Division Major General Douglas Laidlaw congratulated the Western Australian Association for Mental Health and thanked employers across Australia for supporting their ADF Reserve employees.

“Every day, employers support Defence Force reservists through a range of flexible working arrangements and policies. The support provided is not only valued by the reservist, but more broadly the entire ADF,” Major General Laidlaw said.

For more information on support for ADF Reserve members and their civilian employers, visit





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